x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Man gave couple Dh30,000 to resurrect his brother

A man says a huckster tried to con him into paying to resurrect his dead brother.

DUBAI // A Ras Al Khaimah man paid a couple from Africa almost Dh30,000 in the belief that they could resurrect his brother, who died in a traffic accident 22 years ago, a court has been told.

The victim of the scam made an initial payment of Dh18,000 for a liquid the couple called Sandaliya, which they said they needed to bring the dead back to life, followed by a series of further payments until the total came to Dh29,000.

Only when he received a phone call from France saying that his dead brother had been taken by genies and kept in the Mediterranean, but could be brought back for Dh1 million, did the victim smell a rat and call the police.

Officers set a trap for the couple behind the scam, and arrested AY, 32, from Chad and MO, 50, from Sudan. They denied charges of fraud before Dubai Court of Misdemeanours last week, but admitted to overstaying visit visas.

The victim of the scam, MA, told prosecutors that for seven months after the fatal accident in 1989 he had been plagued by rumours that his brother was still alive, with neighbours and others reporting that they had seen him. One neighbour said he had come to her house for a visit. MA was so concerned that he applied to have his brother's body exhumed.

"The grave was opened under supervision, and my brother was in his grave, but looked as if he had died today," he told prosecutors.

MA let the matter go, although in 1996 a nephew told him he had seen his brother. And when a neighbour told him recently that his brother was not only alive but had stayed at her house for a couple of weeks, his obsession returned.

A friend put him in touch with the man from Chad, AY, and after an initial contact they met again a week later, when AY was accompanied by MO. They told MA they could find his dead brother and bring him back to life, MA told prosecutors.

"They requested Dh18,000 as a down payment to buy the liquid, and I gave them the money," he said.

They met several other times in Dubai after that, taking Dh5,000 and other amounts until the total came to Dh29,000, he said.

At the end of April, MA received a call from a French phone number, from a man who said his dead brother had been taken by genies and kept in the Mediterranean.

"He said he could bring him back in return for a million dirhams," MA said. At that point, MA felt he was being defrauded. He contacted Dubai police, who came up with a scheme to lure the caller.

"I told him I could pay Dh300,000 on the condition we take the body to the hospital to confirm it was my brother," MA said.

When the man arrived in Dubai, he turned out to be AY, and police arrested both him and his partner, MO.

A sergeant from Al Muraqqabat police station said: "We found papers with AY that had talismans on them, while another paper had names and numbers of other customers."

AY said he had been living illegally in the country for four years and met MO at a cafe. She asked him to help MA because he suffered from emotional problems.

"I called him from a French phone number. He told me his brother was kidnapped by genies, and I said to him this was not possible. I didn't ask him for a million dirhams to bring his brother from the dead," AY said.

A verdict is expected on August 18.

 

salamir@thenational.ae